We heard Kansas Jayhawks head coach Charlie Weis' side of the story on the dismissal of quarterback Brock Berglund from the football program. Well, a really brief side of it: "This is for a number of reasons, but they have all been dismissed from our team," Weis said in reference to Berglund and five other Jayhawks players.
Berglund is now saying he'd been trying to leave the team anyway since Dec. 27, but here's the thing: according to Berglund, KU still isn't letting him seek a scholarship elsewhere, even though he's no longer a member of the football team.
The rising sophomore isn't shying away from lawyering up, either, releasing an extensive statement on the spat detailing his stance:
The University of Kansas (KU) football program has a new coach, Charlie Weis, and several high-profile transfers from other programs. Fortunately for KU, schools such as Notre Dame, BYU and Oklahoma have released incoming KU transfers, quarterback Dayne Crist, quarterback Jake Heaps and receiver Justin McCay, from their respective commitments to those programs.
Unfortunately for Brock Berglund, KU, however, has refused to extend the same courtesy.
Berglund, a freshman, was heavily recruited out of high school, and accepted a scholarship to KU in 2010, primarily because of the bond formed between him and then-coach Turner Gill during the recruiting process. Gill assured Berglund that his quarterbacking skill set was a perfect fit for the KU offense, and that he expected Berglund to compete for the starter's role right away. However, KU terminated Gill and his staff at the end of the season, and hired Charlie Weis as its head coach.
Shortly thereafter, Weis successfully landed his high-profile transfers -- all of whom he had previously recruited out of high school when he was head coach at Notre Dame. In December, 2011, Berglund was informed during a short conversation with new quarterbacks coach Ron Powlus that Crist, the Irish's former starting quarterback, would start for the KU football team in 2012, and that Berglund was only competing for the backup quarterback position. Given the change in coaching staffs and offensive philosophies, and the abrupt demotion, in December 2011, Berglund requested permission from KU to enable him to speak with other Division I-A football programs about a possible transfer.
Without KU's permission, NCAA rules prohibit any contact between Berglund and other Division I-A programs, effectively precluding the player's ability to explore any other potential opportunities prior to considering a transfer.
Despite the information communicated by Coach Weis, Berglund's written request to KU made clear that it was "simply a request to communicate with other coaches and [was] not intended to alter [his] status as a University of Kansas student athlete in any way."
What ensued was a six-sentence response letter from Theresa Becker, Associate Athletics Director at KU, which not only denied Berglund's request to communicate with other coaches but made clear that, while he had not even asked, Berglund would not be released from his commitment to the KU football program. Specifically, Becker stated that:
"[i]n consultation with Dr. Sheahon Zenger, Director of Athletics for the University of Kansas, we are denying your request for permission to have contact with another university regarding your decision to transfer. Additionally, your request to be released from the University of Kansas is also denied."
The balance of Becker's letter informed Berglund that he had three business days to appeal KU's decision to the KU Student-Athlete Appeals Board (SAAB). No reason for the denial or other information was contained in Becker's response letter.
Berglund has consulted with an attorney, Vince Linden, regarding KU's decision and has informed KU that he intends to appeal the denial of his request. Linden confirmed that KU has scheduled an appeals hearing before the SAAB, but stated "beyond that, we have no information regarding the basis for KU's decision. Neither the coaching staff nor the administration have provided any information or criteria upon which they based their decision."
Due to the scheduled appeal hearing, and because his attendance may have subjected him, pursuant to strict NCAA requirements, to complete an additional academic semester at KU, Berglund did not attend a mandatory team meeting last Sunday, but informed KU in advance of the meeting that he would not be in attendance. However, Berglund was dismissed from the team by KU and Weis on Monday, reportedly for failing to attend the Sunday meeting. Berglund learned about his dismissal, not from Weis or anyone else at KU, but via Twitter and internet media outlets, which reported that during Weis' press conference he personally introduced his new high-profile quarterback transfers and announced certain "dismissals" from the team -- including Berglund.
KU scheduled Berglund's SAAB appeal hearing after Weis' press conference, signaling that the athletic administration still intends to defend its denial of Berglund's request.
No further explanation or justification of KU's decision has been offered since its initial written denial.
Berglund plans to follow the required appeal procedure and hopes that KU will reconsider its decision and allow him the same opportunity which the KU football program accepted from the athletic administrations at Notre Dame, BYU, and Oklahoma -- the opportunity for a fresh start.
His attorney, Linden, is cautiously optimistic and wrote:
"The SAAB's inquiry will focus on whether the decision was fair and just given the circumstances. Any objective observer, shown all the facts, will know that the decision was not only unfair, but was arbitrary and capricious, and should be overturned. It will be very interesting to hear KU's explanation, particularly in light of the fact that it so gleefully courted players who were granted releases from their own respective programs, and wished the best of luck by their former coaches."
For more on the Jayhawks, visit Kansas blog Rock Chalk Talk.